New Audi A4 Avant & BMW 3 Series Touring vs Volvo V60: costs

Audi, BMW and Volvo are all experienced at making plush executive estates with four-wheel drive if you need it. Let’s see which of their contenders is the best buy...

Audi A4 Avant driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If you’re in the market for something as sensible as an estate, surely you’re interested in the super-sensible topic of costs. And in terms of how much you’ll pay up front, this test is a prime example of why it’s always worth checking out the deals available via our online New Car Buying service before you place an order.

The A4 may have the highest list price, but it’s currently available for less than the 3 Series once discounts are factored in. Savings on the V60, meanwhile, are similar to those on the A4, making it the cheapest to buy outright.

The 3 Series and V60 hold on to their value equally well over three years, while the A4 depreciates at a slightly faster rate. However, it’s the V60 that will cost private buyers the least to run, thanks to those healthy discounts. The 3 Series will be the priciest, despite being easiest on fuel; it managed 41.6mpg in our economy test, compared with 39.3mpg for the A4 and a lowly 35.6mpg for the V60.

BMW 3 Series Touring driving

Given its efficiency, it’s no surprise that the 3 Series has the lowest CO2 emissions, emitting a reasonable 124g/km. The V60 is second best at 135g/km, while the A4 is worst at 140g/km. You’ll therefore find the 3 Series is cheapest for company car tax and the A4 the priciest, although fleet managers will be more interested to note that the A4 will put the smallest hole in their budget and the V60 the biggest.

As for monthly PCP finance costs, the V60 is the cheapest at £513 a month, while the A4 is pricier at £591, even with the biggest manufacturer deposit contribution. The 3 Series is more expensive again at £601 a month.

The 3 Series proves the best at protecting adults and children in the event of a crash, closely followed by the V60. The A4 was tested under an older set of regulations, so its scores can’t be directly compared. All three get automatic emergency braking,  although the 3 Series adds lane departure warning, while the V60 can actually guide the car back into its lane if you start to wander. 

Volvo V60 driving

It’s Volvo that performed best in the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, coming 11th out of 31 manufacturers, with Audi in 20th and BMW 21st. Both Audi and Volvo provide three-year, 60,000-mile warranties, with BMW bettering this with a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

The V60 gives you the most standard equipment for your money, being the only one with keyless entry, a hands-free tailgate and hill descent control. That said, the A4 and 3 Series give you three instead of two-zone climate control. 

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